Thursday, March 31, 2016

Funnies and a Weekly Update

Sammy's bedtime musings tonight..
Sammy: Mommy? How many minutes are in 4 hours?
Me: 240.
S: Soooo that means there are 240 seconds in 4 minutes?
Me: [how the HECK does he know this?]
S: Mom, I have a question about a certain farm animal. It's a chicken. Which came first? The chicken or the egg?
Me: This is a great question! Why don't you think about which YOU think came first.
...2 minutes later...
S: Mommy! I know the answer! The chicken HAD to come first because all babies need a mama and not all mamas need a baby.

Woo! We have had quite the week! Buddy has been adjusting to his new home and we have been adjusting to having a new, very energetic member in our family. The first 48 hours were a bit rough. Dan got very sick and has acquired a strange leg infection/rash in both legs that has kept him off his feet. The timing hasn't been wonderful, but we have made it work like we always do.

Buddy is so cuddly and soft and lovable! The first few days he was here he peed ALL over the place. Today he only peed in the house twice and both times he made sure to do it on the tile (thanks, Bud!). After dinner, I found him patiently sitting by the door and I took that as a sign that he needed to go outside. Success! Let's hope this continues!

He loves to play (and still nips a bit). He is a LOVER and totally loves being touched and snuggled (our type of guy for sure!). He doesn't like walks yet and literally stops at every house we pass thinking it's ours. He will sit in each lawn and whimper because he wants to be home. He obviously needs exercise, so we have to push him a bit with this. When we walk alongside busy streets he doesn't seem to like the sound of traffic, so he walks directly behind me and tries to bury himself between my legs.

Sammy and Elijah both adore him, but they are timid around him and worry about his nipping. It's so cute to watch the three of them when the boys get off the bus. They all huddle on the sidewalk together and LOVE on each other. :)

Dan's legs and throat are on the mend. We are hoping for a turnaround day for him tomorrow. Our family has endured so much dang sickness this winter and we are just so done with it! Yuck! As of this evening, the boys are on spring break for 10 days! We have some fun things planned and we're looking forward to spending some quality time with each other. More later!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Buddy!

Meet the newest, softest member of our family...Buddy! This has been in the works for about a month. Dan's dad found an amazing yellow lab breeder in Northern MN who happened to have ONE puppy left in her most recent litter. He mentioned it to us and we both felt like we should jump on the opportunity. It is a small miracle that it was on MY heart to get a dog because I have felt so opposed to it up until now. The timing just seemed right for our family!

Dan and his dad picked Buddy up today! He is 12 weeks old. He is super soft and sweet. He very curiously explored every corner of our house and Sammy diligently followed him with the bitter apple spray while spraying everything Buddy should not be nibbling on. :) He has peed on our carpet six times, but we are working on showing him the proper place to go. Buddy plays HARD but then rests very easily (a lot like us, ha!). We know this first day must be hard on him, so we are giving him tons of love. We are so excited to bond with our new pup! Life with a dog is completely foreign to me, so this will be a huge learning experience.

We are all recovering a bit from vacation still. Dan and I had the most PERFECT vacation ever. It was honestly just plain perfection. It was such a needed time away together that happened to be at an amazing and beautiful resort. We made some unforgettable memories. The boys had tons of fun with their Auntie and cousins while we were away.

The boys have a few more days of school this week before spring break begins. We have a few fun things planned while they are off school next week. Thanks for peeking in. I'm going to go snuggle on our Budster before bed!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Easter Blessings

This time of year gives me joy. The warmer weather is obviously a huge bonus, but Easter holds a super special place in my heart. A few years ago we had just started attending a new church and we were LOVING it. A few weeks into our new church venture, Elijah was able to be a part of the children's Easter program. The kids went in front of church and performed sign language along with singing to Jeff Deyo's Bless The Lord while Jeff Deyo himself sang on stage behind them. I remember being so completely overwhelmed and moved as I took it all in. It was Elijah's first time performing in church. It was Easter, which obviously has precious meaning. The music was INCREDIBLE. My heart was full and I felt the Holy Spirit sink into me. After that service I was on cloud nine. As we left church, I realized that I had not previously truly known Jesus before walking into church that day. When I walked out of church, He was with me and He has been ever since. So now, every time anyone mentions Easter I feel happiness and peace. Easter 2013 was when I finally understood and felt Jesus for the first time in my life.

Despite the sickness that has been running rampant in our family for the past three months, I feel a buzz in the air. Easter is upon us. It's the third anniversary of my true understanding and also the celebration of Jesus' resurrection. And so it seems fitting that we were immensely blessed today. 

Elijah was up early as usual this morning. He was reading in the loft at 6:30 and came RUNNING into our bedroom. "MOMMY! MOMMY! Someone is furiously ringing our doorbell!" I could barely comprehend this, but knew that I should force Dan downstairs to scope things out. :) As he got dressed I peeked out the window and saw a ton of footprints in the fresh snow in our yard. I stared, confused! Who came to our house? What was going on?! Just then a car pulled up and the passenger stared at our front door. I had the thought that maybe our house was burning down or maybe someone was trying to rob us.

When we opened the front door there were three huge Easter baskets filled with goodies greeting us, along with dozens of Easter eggs (candy inside) sitting in the snow for the boys. We were filled with confusion as we pulled everything inside. The boys put their boots on and excitedly collected eggs in the near-dark. As we dug through the baskets, we realized that some very generous people had come to our house. We were completely overwhelmed by the gifts we received. We are still trying to wrap our heads around the generosity.

Dan and I have been chatting about it all day. It is hard to accept such amazing gifts or feel like we are deserving, but we DO receive them and appreciate the generosity and we will of course pay it forward. This time of year brings such major blessings! We are grateful. God is so good to us all. Blessings are ALL around us!

Thanks for peeking in! Bless you all!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Another great cardiology visit!

We are breathing easy tonight. PHEW! I can't even explain how relieved I feel right now. We had been thinking that maybe something was going on with Elijah's heart, but his echo today revealed NO CHANGE from his previous echo (times 10). Amazing! No heart intervention will be necessary at least for the next six months.

Our two main concerns and the reason we brought him in early were: Falling asleep at random times and heightened heart rate.

Dr. G's response to these things were that the sleep issues are related to his chronic sleep problems and NOT his heart. If it were his heart, he would no longer be able to do the things he loves to do (going to the park, waterpark, taking walks, etc). Making this differentiation was huge for us. Most likely, on the days Elijah sleeps during the day he has likely had a lousy night of sleep. He is becoming more self-aware and he is more able to let us know when his body needs rest.

The "high" heart rate and BP that other doctors freak out about is not at all a concern to Dr. G. He told us that anything from 50-150bpm and 120BP is just fine for him. This is such a relief! He knows Elijah's heart better than anyone and we trust him completely.

The relief I feel tonight is indescribable. I was secretly mentally preparing for intervention soon. I feel like we have gotten yet another free pass. It has been nearly FIVE years since his last heart intervention and that is amazing! We will take it! Thank you, Jesus, for more answered prayers and for protecting our kiddos. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Porta Waterpark Trip 2016

Our sixth annual Porta Waterpark Adventure has sadly come to an end. My boys and I cherish this time together every year. Each one of us looks forward to this trip and we all feel sadness as we leave our hotel room for the last time. This year the boys asked repeatedly if we would ever get THIS VERY same room again. They were so upset when I answered, "Probably not."

Here are the boys getting their first glimpse into the waterpark! Kinda hard with the frosted glass.

Here we are, doing our customary JUMPING ON THE BED when we arrived! The boys think this is hilarious. This year Sammy played out "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed," along with actual falling on the floor motions and hitting of his head. :)

My cuties are getting SO big! We always have to climb up to the top bunk and get a picture. This was the first year that Sammy was interested in sleeping on the top bunk, so each boy got a night up there.

This year's hits for snacks: veggie straws and cheese balls. BOTH bags were totally demolished within 24 hours.

The first night we arrived we spent a bit of time in the waterpark. It was nice to have time there when it wasn't crazy crowded. I have to mention that both boys left the waterpark without tears or complaining every single time we departed. This is HUGE, especially for our waterpark-lover Elijah. Yay for maturing!

Look at these cute boys! Both of them were so brave in the water this year. Sammy willingly went into the wave pool AND the lazy river! I was so proud of him. And Elijah went on the BIG waterslide with me, which was really huge for him. On the walk up the 10 flights of stairs I could tell he was getting anxious. He asked me repeatedly if everything was going to be ok. Are we going to be safe? Are we going to go under water? Are you going to protect me? Once we were in the giant tube, all was well. We had a blast! It was one of the highlights of the entire trip.

Even though the boys are too old to be bathing together, we made an exception for this trip just for the sake of tradition. Sadly, it may be the last.

Just like at home, the boys asked to constantly listen to worship music every time we were in the hotel room. Here is Sammy jamming out to one of his favorite songs. I LOVE that cheesy hand in the air.

More worship music time with some snacks and apple juice.

My sweet oldest boy still likes to snuggle.

Sammy kept asking me to take random pictures of him so I could send them to his teacher. :) He took VERY good care of our room key, making sure to keep it in its protective sleeve so we wouldn't forget our room number. Mr. Organized!


A snapshot I keep in my mind every year is of the boys running down the hallway toward our room. They still love to run run run!

And we spent our last night in the arcade, as we always do. We had tons of fun! I reminded Sammy about just a few years ago when he would run and hide behind the arcade machines because he wanted nothing to do with being there. Every year Sammy gets more comfortable and enjoys more parts of this trip. I was so happy to see him truly enjoying the arcade this year!

We earned a ton of points and both boys were super excited to get prizes.

The boys with their loot!

We are super thankful for another adventure together! I love our traditions and that we all cherish them so much.

Elijah has a cardiology appointment right away in the morning. Prayers are appreciated and I will write an update as soon as we get home!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Our little teachers

Have I shown you the boys' haircuts yet? I don't think I've taken pictures of them since all their hair was chopped off! Here is the back of Sammy's head at his kindergarten music program last week..

Being in this small group was the only time he participated in actions. I suppose he figured that not participating when in the spotlight would make him the center of attention even more. When he was in the masses on the stands, he sang the songs but did NOT participate in hand or body movements. That's our Sammy! The cutest little bumblebee ever!

We have all been healing this week. I mean, I have been healing this week! Everyone else has been doing great! We are all super excited for our waterpark trip that begins tomorrow after school. This will be our sixth annual waterpark adventure!

Elijah has had another super week at school! We are so happy about the reports that have been coming home. I have been trying to spend as much time at school as possible and I like to think my hugs help.

Today after school we had Elijah's BFF over for the first time in a few weeks (due to the crazy sickness). She approached me privately and told me that there is another girl in their class who has been getting in the way of Elijah and A's friendship. Today at recess when A was pushing Elijah on the swings (how sweet is that??), this other little girl came up and said, "I'VE got this taken care can leave, A." So after A told me this story I explained that Elijah truly cherishes their friendship and that she just needs to talk to him about this. So A said, "Elijah! I need to talk to you!" E said, "What did I do? Am I in trouble? Are you mad at me?" :) I sat on the sidelines and listened to their chat. A told him her concerns and Elijah replied in the most mature way I ever could have imagined. His response was better than anything I could have come up with! He said, "A....that other girl is my friend. I like her, but I don't like her as much as I like you. You are more important to me. Tomorrow I will talk to her and straighten everything out." She kinda sat speechless (as did I) and I jumped in and expressed how proud I was of both of them for communicating so well and sorting through an issue. It was awesome! I love that E and A are such great buds and that they complement each other so well.

For the past few mornings the boys have been playing "school" before Dan and I get out of bed. They are awake by 6:00 and either play quietly in their room or in the loft until 7:00 when we get breakfast ready. A few mornings ago I walked into a "classroom" where Elijah was teaching a handful of stuffed animals about sea creatures, while Sammy had a few students pulled out for reading. It was seriously the sweetest thing. I couldn't believe the organization involved and the dedication to the project. I took the above video later that afternoon....still dedicated to teaching their students!

If Sammy becomes bored in the morning before 7am, he has been coming to my side of the bed and asking to get into bed with me. This is NOT typical, but I have loved it. A few mornings ago he said, "Special DELIVERY! SAMMY SNUGGLES coming INNNNN!" Once I had my arms wrapped tightly around him in bed, he said, "Mommy? At the end of the day at school when we do circle-up, I'm going to say that my favorite part of the day was THIS. Snuggles with you are the BEST!" He always asks me to squeeze him tighter tighter TIGHTER!!!! This morning as I was squeezing as tightly as possible without suffocating him, I told him that I had to get in the shower. He said, "But you smell so good! PLEASE don't wash that delicious smell off you!" Oh that boy..he melts my mama heart.

Have a great rest of your week! We'll be back early next week!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A bit of tachycardia and some funnies

The sickness has lived on for the two adults in our house. Just when I think I'm feeling better, I have a terrible day. Today was better. Dan feels like this weekend will be our turnaround and I sure hope he's right. The boys have been great! Sammy healed quickly from his flu and praise GOD it never touched Elijah. It's a miracle!

We have had a few other concerns with Elijah lately. He has been falling asleep at school on occasion, which is something that has just never happened in the past. Then on Sunday he laid down on the couch and said, "I'm REALLY tired and need a nap." I was kind of anticipating the flu, so figured it was finally hitting him. But then he never got a fever or had any other symptoms, so I was back to scratching my head about the request for a nap. I called Dr. G right away Monday morning and he wanted to move Elijah's standard 6-month cardio visit up by a month based on what I'd told him. We will go in for a check-up on 3/14. We had his well visit with Dr. Judy scheduled for today, which was timely.

In addition to the naps, E has also experienced some headaches (maybe 2/week) and random body pains recently. Dr. Judy felt like the pains and headaches were side effects from taking Strattera, which is what my gut had been telling me. The naps and exhaustion, though, could be a concern. When she checked his heart rate in the office it was 130bpm at rest. She checked it a few different times and it didn't change. She was mildly concerned by the tachycardia and told us to keep an eye on it. If it gets above 130bpm before 3/14, we should bring him back in. His blood pressure was high today, too, but that has slowly been increasing over the past few months. My gut tells me that some sort of heart intervention will need to happen soon (maybe a cath) due to increased pressures. We will find out on 3/14!

Other than these concerns, Dr. Judy is super happy with Elijah's growth and progress! He's in the 4th percentile for height and the 51st percentile for weight. Considering everything, our oldest boy is doing GREAT!

Speaking of great, Elijah has had a few really great days at school this week. Today I got a few reports that used the words "super" and "fantastic." Wow! He has been buckling down and doing work at school that he previously was fighting and refusing. 

I'll end with a few funnies..

When I was super sick last week, Dan was helping me change clothes when I literally could barely move on my own. Sammy happened to walk by and yelled into the room, "Take care of your WIFE.....Dad." :)

While we were waiting for Elijah to get done snowboarding last Saturday, Sammy grabbed some supplies from the cafe. He had a few spoons and packets of salt that he was playing games with and I didn't think much of it. On our drive home Sammy said, "Mom, I'd like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, please.......And you won't need to get out the jelly. Because I've got these.." as he passed me the jelly packets that he had stolen from Afton Alps. :)

I've been trying to consistently make time to be at school with the boys on Wednesday mornings. I go into Elijah's class first and then Sammy's. I LOVE spending time at school with my cuties. It is such a special time for me. I help their teachers out with whatever they need and I give lots of hugs to my boys in between tasks. I have loved getting to know their classmates a bit, especially Sammy's friends who I've been able to spend more time with. Mrs. H has had me take a few students out in the hall and play a numbers game so they can become more familiar with writing, recognizing and saying numbers. This week for the first time Sammy questioned why I never pulled him out for the numbers game. I told him it was because we could do our own game at home, so I have started writing some challenging numbers on paper for him to read back to me. This boy! He is so dang smart! I have been testing him with numbers in the millions such as 7,002,004 and he can read them back to me accurately. So impressive!

And tonight Sammy used the word "approaching" correctly in a sentence. While in the bath, he said, "Mom, look! The minion is approaching a waterfall!" I can brag about having smart boys, right?! :)

Tomorrow we will attend Sammy's kindergarten musical performance which involves him being a bumble bee. We can't wait to watch! Sammy warned me that he probably won't be singing in front of anyone because he "hates performances." :)

Thanks for checking in! More later!